"Crossing the Tracks," Tenderhearted Historical Novel for Teens

Poor Iris Baldwin lost her mom as a young child, and now that she is a teen, her overbearing, insensitive dad is sending her away for the summer. Iris feels awkward, alienated, and angry about his latest girlfriend as she spends the summer with kindly Doctor Nesbitt and his elderly mother. Gradually Iris finds friendship, compassion, and a mindset that feels like home. Set in Kansas and Missouri in the 1920s, this coming-of-age novel -- the first by talented author Barbara Stuber -- offers romantic and tragic subplots, including a young neighbor's pregnancy and a violent death in Iris' family.

Once I picked this novel up, I couldn't put it down. After I finished reading it, I was delighted to see that this historical novel was picked in 2011 for Best Fiction for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association. Written for kids in about sixth through eighth grades, the story "offers strong character development and an engaging protagonist," according to School Library Journal. It's a natural for readers drawn to the Great Plains. Check out the author's website here.

The Monster Squad, on DVD

As a classic kid-comedy film from 1987, The Monster Squad is underrated. Not enough people of a certain generation have seen this film, and I speak of my peers. Peers who, when hearing a quote from this movie during a trivia contest, hadn’t heard of the movie, let alone recognized the quote. The silence of the film's initial release in 1987 was slowly followed by a rebirth as it was discovered by old and new fans. After 20 years of VHS life, it was finally released on DVD.

The film follows 12-year-old Sean, his best pal Patrick, and their gang of misfit friends. As fans of classic horror films, they gather in the local tree house to talk monsters. The monsters become all too real when Count Dracula shows up in town with the Wolf Man, the Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Gill Man, all searching for an ancient amulet that will shift the balance of good and evil, giving Dracula control. It’s up to Sean and the newly formed Monster Squad to stop the end of the world from arriving.

It’s a zany pre-teen adventure, filled with pesky little sisters, creepy neighbors, childlike one-liners, and a swirling vortex of evil. The two-disc 20th anniversary edition of the film is available at AADL on DVD and Blu-ray.

Author Jennifer Allison Comes to Ann Arbor!

It's always very exciting when authors come to town. I love hearing about where they got the idea for their characters and how they keep coming up with new adventures for those characters.

Jennifer Allison, author of the Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator series, will be at the Downtown Library on Thursday, October 13, 2011 from 7 - 8 p.m. Books will be on sale at the event. Grade 4 - Adult.

The Princess Curse: Author will discuss fairy tale/myth


A debut tween novel, The Princess Curse will be discussed by the author Oct. 4 from 4-5:30pm in the Gallery of U-M Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library. The author is the library's own Merrie Haskell Fuller. In her fairy tale/myth, twelve princesses suffer from a curse -- and whoever breaks it will win a reward. Reveka sees the money could bring her a master herbalist position, so she goes for it. On her quest she meets a shadowy stranger, finds a blighted land in need of healing, and must decide whether to break the curse at the peril of her soul. On Oct. 4, the author will discuss the book and the process of getting published.

Teen Stuff: See What I see, by Gloria Whelan

In this new book by Gloria Whelan, eighteen year old Kate, daughter of famous artist Dalton Quinn, whom she hasn’t seen or heard from in ten years, lives in northern Michigan with her mother. She wishes to attend art school in Detroit, which requires local residency. Since her father is back from New York and now residing in Detroit, living as a recluse and painting like a madman, she decides to drop in unannounced with the idea that she would live with him while attending art school. Things don’t quite go as planned. Her cantankerous father is less than open to the idea of her living with him, taking up space, and interrupting his work flow. When he falls ill, they strike a deal. Kate learns a lot that year. About herself, her father, and the art world.

See What I See is written from Kate’s young artist point of view, and she paints pictures as she narrates. Everything around her holds such texture, such color, such detail, and demands a painting. Author Gloria Whelan's time in Michigan is apparent. Kate's comparisons of Northern Michigan and Detroit are quite lovely to read, as we try to see what she sees.

Summer Screen Printing Workshop

During this hands-on workshop you'll view a presentation on how screen printing works, and will then get a chance to screen print onto paper or cloth. You’ll have a choice between printing an original Summer Game design onto a tote we supply (or a cloth item that you bring in), OR you can print a different Summer Game design onto paper to create a print. That’s right, we’ll have two of Jannie Ho’s AADL Summer Game designs and two screen printing stations set up, ready for you to DIY.

To keep up with screen printing, check out these books as a resource.

This DIY event is for Grades 6- Adult, and takes place at Pittsfield on Wednesday, June 29, 7-8:30pm. See you there!

SRGelephantJannieHoSRGelephantJannieHo

Teen Stuff: Okay For Now, by Gary Schmidt

Perhaps you read The Wednesday Wars and fell in love with it, as I did. If so, you are in luck, and even if not, you’re in luck. Author Gary Schmidt presents his latest young adult novel, Okay For Now, which is a companion piece to his Newbery Honor book, The Wednesday Wars. The books are written so you can read them independently, but there are some overlapping characters.

Set in 1968, Okay For Now focuses on 8th grader Doug Sweitek, one of the class bullies gone good in The Wednesday Wars. Doug comes from a troubled home, and he and his two older brothers have reputations for being rotten eggs. His father has a heavy fist he has to duck from, but his mother is sweet and supportive, and has a smile that melts Doug’s heart.

After moving to a new town he hates, Doug spends his summer at the local library, where he makes a friend and falls in love with the Audubon book plates housed there. It is a summer of birds, drawing, new friends, family, fights, baseball, Vietnam, Coca-Cola, and Jane Eyre. This book is a truly delightful read.

Magazine Update -- Film Stars, The World Cup and Swimming Babies

swimming baby by tomeppy, Flickr.comswimming baby by tomeppy, Flickr.com
If our scorching 90-degree weather is any indication, summer is finally here! Before packing up to hit the beach, make sure to check out some of our awesome youth magazines.

For Parents:
American Baby -- Stroller reviews, tips for new dads and a guide for teaching your tot to swim.

For Kids:
Nintendo Power -- Check out Sonic Generations for the 3DS, plus an advance look at Mega Man Legends 3!

Sports Illustrated Kids -- Learn more about the Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto and the Brazilian world cup star Marta. Also in this issue, a profile of the US women's world cup team, and "10 Ways to Make Sports More Awesome."

For Teens:
Justine -- College advice, a great list of books for summer reading, and a look at actor Grey Damon - leading man of new series "The Nine Lives of Chloe King" (based on these books).

Lucky -- A talk with actress and teen book author Lauren Conrad, and style advice from actress Rose Byrne.

Thrasher -- It's "The Interview Issue," and you will not believe how many interviews they managed to cram into this magazine: Aaron Homoki, Cody McEntire, Ben Hatchell and Daniel Lutheran are only the merest sampling of what Thrasher has to offer.

WWE Magazine -- An interview with John Cena, and 50 things to do this summer.

Magazine Update -- Owl Cake, Skateboarding Stars and "The Other Middleton"

Pippa with Pink HatPippa with Pink Hat
Memorial Day is right around the corner! If constant rain prevents you from hitting the pool, at least you will be able to read some great new youth and teen magazines! Or, hey, you could also read them at the pool...

Kids:
Owl Magazine celebrates their 35th birthday by giving you presents! You can win a retro owl t-shirt, and also bake an owl-shaped caked. Cuuute! Also inside are "Animal All Stars" and "10 Things You Didn't Know About Water."

Teens:
Transworld Skateboarding welcomes the "New Breed" of up-and-coming skateboard virtuosos and has fun interviewing Julian Davidson, Felipe Gustavo and Theotis Beasley, as well as oodles more.

Us Weekly shares the diet and exercise secrets of the stars in the "Hot Bodies" issue. You can also read the latest gossip about Leonardo DiCaprio's love life and Pippa Middleton, the sister of the new Duchess of Cambridge.

Of course, we have plenty more great magazines to read while working on your tan! Come on down and check some out, before Memorial Day Weekend!

Teen Stuff: It’s time for Breakin’ Curfew!

Breakin CurfewBreakin Curfew

The Neutral Zone and UMS present the 8th annual Breakin' Curfew. The event is created, produced, marketed, and performed by local teens. The performances at Breakin' Curfew feature everything from dance, spoken word, jazz, classical music, rock, to hip hop, and much more. The electricity of a teen-centric audience watching a show of teens, produced by teens, is amazing. It is quite the unique showcase of talent. All this fun takes place at the Power Center on Saturday, May 14 at 8pm. See here for ticket info and more. Yes, adults are of course welcome to attend and support these great minds!

May 14, 8pm | Power Center | See UMS site for ticket info

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